I’ve ranted before on how there always seems to be a group of Christians out there who feel the best way to recruit new believers is by trying to co-opt something popular and slapping Jesus all over it. There’s the Christian Wrestling Federation and the Fight 4 Christ Mixed Martial Arts leagues, various video games (Halo, World of Warcraft, etc.) have been adopted for Christian outreach efforts or recreated to be Christian like Guitar Praise (Christian Guitar Hero), Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll music, and so on.
Of course their biggest successes in this regard are Christmas, formally known as Yuletide or any of a number of other pagan solstice celebrations, and Easter, co-opted for similar reasons. And now they’re after Halloween, considered by many Christians to be a reprehensible and evil holiday. So what do you get when you Christianize Halloween?
You get Jesus Ween!
JesusWeen is a God-given vision which was born as an answer to the cry of many every October 31st. The dictionary meaning of Ween is to expect, believe or think. We therefore see October 31st as a day to expect a gift of salvation and re-think receiving Jesus.
Every year, the world and its system have a day set aside (October 31st) to celebrate ungodly images and evil characters while Christians all over the world participate, hide or just stay quiet on Halloween day. Being a day that is widely acceptable to solicit and knock on doors, God inspired us to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the gospel. The days of hiding are over and we choose to take a stand for Jesus. “Evil prevails when good people do nothing”. JesusWeen is expected to become the most effective Christian outreach day ever and that is why we also call it” World Evangelism Day”.
And to think we used to be annoyed by that one neighbor who handed out Chick Tracts instead of candy.
Here’s the thing that cracks me up about this whole effort: Halloween is already the result of a previous attempt by Christians to usurp the Celtic festival of Samhain by replacing it with All Saints’ Day (both on November 1st), a day to celebrate saints and martyrs established by Pope Gregory III. The evening before was labeled All Hallow’s Eve which eventually got shortened to Halloween.
The holiday here in America took quite awhile to catch on. In the early colonial period of New England it wasn’t particularly popular due to it being mostly a Catholic invention and the colonials being largely Protestant. It didn’t go nation-wide until the second half of the 19th century with the huge influx of immigrants from Europe, especially the Irish, spreading the tradition. The early 20th century is roughly when it morphed into the mostly secular holiday we know it as today and the baby boom of the 1950’s is when the modern traditions really solidified, but all throughout it’s history here it has changed with some traditions (e.g. trick or treating) falling out of favor only to make a comeback later.
Halloween is the one Christian holiday that got away from them and took on a life of its own. Which, of course, doesn’t sit well with a some folks who should really get over it. The thing they should be asking themselves is if this is a battle really worth fighting?
Halloween as it exists today in America is really pretty tame. None of the kids dressed up as witches or demons or ghosts are doing so because they think these caricatures are something to emulate. It’s a night to dress up and get free candy for no other reason than you took the time to get made up and yell out a catchphrase. Dressing up as a demon is not going to turn your kids into Satan worshipers any more than playing Cops and Robbers will make your kids into mass-murdering bank robbers. (I don’t know about you guys, but the car-chase shoot-outs we imagined as we fled the bank would’ve left a helluva lot of collateral damage in its wake.) You could argue that with the childhood obesity rates these days there is real harm in giving kids a shitload of candy to eat, but spiritually there’s not much about the holiday that’ll put their souls at risk.
But hey, if you really have a problem with the holiday then don’t participate. There’s two more major Christian holidays that haven’t been totally secularized yet that you can look forward to. Both of which are arguably a more suitable platform for evangelizing from if you really feel you must do so. Ask yourselves: Do you really think that a kid who’s expecting to get a couple pieces of candy from you is really going to be all that excited when you drop a Bible in his sack? What about the parents that aren’t Christian and really don’t want you evangelizing to their kids? Do you think this will make you more or less popular with your neighbors? Do you enjoy having massive amounts of toilet paper hanging from the trees in your yard?
And, lastly, do you really think “Jesus Ween” was a good branding choice?